This is one of the most popular Pinterest pins – at the time of blogging, it’s been shared 379,675 times!!

As you can see, the challenge isn’t a child’s behaviour but a lack of emotional attunement.

Now stay with me on this one, because it will blow your mind.

The same applies to your inner child

Where do you see yourself on this pin? The way you were parented – the way your parents responded to your hurt, your overwhelm, your joy, your achievements and your mistakes is how you treat yourself now.

So let’s take Lisa, who was sent to her room whenever she was too emotional. Like the Wildhearts (highly sensitives) I work with, Lisa received the message that her feelings were too much. She learnt to bury them in order to survive.

The problem is…feelings drive behaviour. 

Lisa’s parents tried to control Lisa’s ‘bad‘ behaviour with rewards and punishments, which didn’t help with her feelings at all.

Lisa internalised the message that not only would she be punished for her big feelings, but also that her big feelings drove people away. As a resourceful and smart child, Lisa tried to please her parents (fawn trauma response), and be less of a burden (not have any emotional needs and show up as perfect) by cutting herself off from her feelings.

SnipThe connection to her heart was severed every time she was sent to her room.

As an adult, Lisa used cigarettes and food to self-soothe. Technically, this isn’t self-soothing. More of a distracting and numbing strategy. Nowadays, children and adults seem to be using their phones to avoid their feelings.

Lisa’s road to recovery was slow as she reconnected to her feelings through inner child work. This was a daily practice of being with that little girl inside of her and reassuring her that it was safe to feel.  Nobody was going to punish her or send her away.

At 30, she was learning to be emotionally literate for the first time.

Do you know how mad that is? Feeling is what our bodies are made to do, and of course healthy adults do not respond this way to a child’s feelings.

Over time, with the guidance of a wonderful trauma therapist, Lisa felt safe enough to fully express all her feelings. Lisa also dissolved the shame she felt from being banished to her room repeatedly for hours on end.

Exclusion (rejection/emotional abandonment) to a child feels like death, so instead of getting angry with her parents for emotionally abusing her (which would have actually been an appropriate response), Lisa blamed herself.

Lisa convinced herself that if it was her fault, then at least she could fix it by constantly trying harder to be a ‘good girl.’ Lisa wasn’t emotionally safe with either of her parents, but staying in denial helped her feel safe. If she was the problem child, there was an illusion of control. She also developed acute OCD-like rituals and crippling perfectionism.

The moral of this sad tale is that our feelings are never meant to to be controlled by another. They are our internal guidance system.

When people say ‘Don’t cry’ or ‘Don’t worry’ they are showing us that they have a limited capacity to tolerate emotional pain.

Lisa’s weight fluctuated and she went on diets to lose weight, but she would always put the weight back on again. Until Lisa was able to be with all her feelings, she would continue to eat on them.

That’s also why whenever you try and start a new routine, or make some kind of change in your life, you fail. You start off with good intentions but then revert to old behaviours. You’re not procrastinating either! No, you’re avoiding unexpressed or stuck emotional pain.

Common ailments like indigestion, IBS, back and neck pain are all expressions of emotions that are stuck in the body. Our bodies cannot lie, and they hold onto the emotional pain that we refuse to face. As is the title of Bessel van der Kolk’s book, ‘The Body Keeps The Score.

If you resonate with Lisa’s story, know that you are not alone, and it’s not too late! Give your inner child permission to have fun learning to be with all her feelings.  

 I have a whole library of emotional literacy classes for you 

or for more personalised support:

Book an Emotional First Aid Session today!

Before I go, here’s a helpful journal prompt for you:

What would it look like if your inner child was free to feel all her feelings without judgement, shame or guilt?

That is the life you deserve, and I’m here to help you achieve it. Don’t wait any longer. Give yourself the gift of emotional freedom and start your healing today.

When you invest in yourself, you’re sending a message to your body, ‘I’m worth it!’ and for the first time, you’ll be prioritising yourself. You’ll be the safe, responsible parent your inner child needed when you were growing up.

You’re worth it.

Please share the love with those that need it most
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial